Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Week two of twenty-eight: DONE. Like Blind Date, Addidas poppers and Tony Blair’s time in office, it is OVER. And what a couple of weeks it has been; I have joined a company of players (Thesps not Pimps), I have scaled a mountain, I have acquired a Dutch accent and last but most certainly not least I have set foot in the only nightclub in Keswick- ‘The Loft’.

Many good men and women have been lost in ‘The Loft’ and those who have survived have never been the same again. I, for one, am a shell of my former self… I think it was the third playing of ‘Let’s Get Ready to Rumble’ that did it. But, hey, who’s complaining?! Not I, said the Little Red Hen. Not I, said Laura Darrall.

So, the end of week two has dawned and I have embarked on a Dutch adventure into the life and loves of one of the most revered yet puzzled painters of all time- Vincent van Gough. Or Vincent in Brixton rather, to give the play its title. Nicholas Wright can thank me later.

Vincent in Brixton tells the story of when the young van Gough came to live in London, with a family called the Loyers. He consequently fell in love with the daughter only to be rejected and transfer his affections onto the mother… or so the story goes.  

I play the character of Anna van Gough, Vincent’s eighteen year old sister (hence the Dutch accent), sent over by their parents to find a job as a governess and to inadvertently and SUBTLY sort her brother out. Her methods for doing so involve a lot of nosey cleaning (second term of drama school was comedy mop work so I’ve got this one down) and downright interrogation (third term was scene studies from The Bill- perfect).

This is me...
Uncanny isn't it.

The set of Vincent in Brixton is INCREDIBLE. We are performing in Theatre by the Lake’s 90 seat studio and it is being transformed into a fully functioning Victorian kitchen complete with running taps and a working hob. Throughout the play sprouts are peeled, a fishcake assembled and tea is brewed; the audience will have a complete 4D experience. Smellovision, eat your heart out!

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of research, discussion, playing and rehearsing and has finally culminated in our first run of the play. If I say so myself, it wasn’t half bad! A few slip ups with the old mop and bucket but other than that a blooming good run. 

In the words of D: Ream... ‘Things can only get bettterrrrrrrrrr!’

This is not mine.

Next week brings a new play and the beginning of proper repertory rehearsing- alternate plays on alternate days. Headless chicken, at the ready Sir! 

An Inspector is calling and we shall answer him…

Monday, 15 April 2013


I have LANDED. In a heap of belongings, wellies and a pair of straighteners which have instantly been made redundant (Rain + My Hair = Frizzimanjarlo), I have arrived in the North. And it is raining. Quelle surprise!

The rain in the Lake District is leaps and bounds away from the rain in London, not just because of the obvious geographical distance but because in the North one is not afeared that said rain will corrode one’s face.

However, the rain in the Lakes does not come danger free, oh no. What the bracing, tumultuous, Wuthering Heights-esque downpours do is much, much worse… They call to my inner frolic.

Now we all have an inner frolic in us somewhere, that need to skip and grin like we’ve done a really good fart and no one’s heard.  The frolic is usually equated with the playing of S Club 7 or unexpectedly finding oneself in a meadow or failing that, a BodyForm advert.

But not in the Lakes, the rain is what does it here. As soon as one single drop falls, I am INSTANTLY Elizabeth Bennett trekking over the fields to Pemberly to rescue my flu suffering yet perfectly composed sister Jane, with muddy skirts and flushed cheeks, accompanied by nothing but the hidden yet unrecognised to desire to bump into Mr Darcy.

‘Yes, I do have a vivid imagination’, she answered to the child psychologist. Couple that with a pink bicycle/wicker basket combo and a strong desire for adventure and that’s me covered. There is even a cafĂ© in Keswick called ‘Laura in the Lakes’. It was obviously meant to be.

SO. I climbed my first hill this weekend. I say hill… It was most definitely more of a hillock. However, along the way I found something which has potentially made my life, or at least seven months of my life. Many of you will have seen this incredible discovery already as I have brutally plastered it over every social medium available to my fat fingers.

As I was stomping up said hillock, I came across this sign…

As we say in Gloucester- THAT’S THE BADGER! I literally had to stop to wet myself. ‘BADGERS FOR ½ MILE’. Who do you think discussed this with the badgers? Do they know not to stray beyond the half mile? Is it a badger/human compromise? Or was one badger adamant for ¾ mile but got shot down?!

‘Alright lads, you’re allowed to build your dens up to the stile but no further, do you hear me?!? We’ve made a pact. Remember the Magna Carta? No, why should you, you’re badgers. The Magna Carta is utterly irrelevant to your place in this world. Unless King John harboured strong views on culling… which I can’t rule out entirely… But ANYWAY, this is your half mile and you stick to it! Alright?!’

What happened after that, we’ll never know. We’re just left with this brilliant sign and a hope for the future of badgers throughout the land.

What I should be telling you about is rehearsals, the theatre and the people. But I’m afraid the badgers, the rain and the bicycle may have SLIGHTLY distracted me.

I promise to fill you in (like Craig David) in more detail next time. But to sum them up for now I shall use a quote from a little known play called As You Like It… 

O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! And yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!